With the cannabis Renaissance comes a surge of enlightenment.
The age of legalization has ushered in a renewed curiosity and enthusiasm around the plant in many respects; the most significant being a growing awareness about marginalized communities that have long been disregarded in cannabis culture. With that, we're now witnessing the advent of the curated weed publication, which serves to educate and spotlight topics that matter. Enter Bowl & Plant Magazine, the new "Queer Cannabis Quarterly" catering to LGBTQ+ consumers.
Dubbed "more than just a gay weed magazine", B&P editors-in-chief Justin Bell and Taylor Mitchum always struggled to find a queer community within the existing cannabis market. They decided to fill that void with thoughtful material that goes beyond mainstream strain and dispensary reviews. Instead, Justin and Taylor craft compelling lifestyle content with purpose: to reduce the stigma of being both an LGBTQ+ person and cannabis user.
We recently caught up with the duo to learn more about their inspiring approach, dedication to unity and normalization.
What inspired you to create Bowl & Plant?
About a year ago, we got really curious about starting a small business, but weren’t sure what it might look like. We did know that we wanted it to involve cannabis. In our research, we struggled to find people from the LGBTQ+ community who were prevalent in the industry or simply open about their cannabis use. Seeing that lack of exposure of LGBTQ+ people who are comfortable sharing their cannabis consumption, we decided to make something that could help break that; we thought a magazine was a great way to showcase the queer user's experience in an effort to normalize and encourage more conversation.
What type of content can readers explore?
While artsy pipes, funky edibles, and up-close pictures of cannabis are all cool and completely valid, that’s not the entirety of the magazine’s content. It's made up of some essential lifestyle elements like food, drink, travel and leisure, as well as fitness, art, and music. Sometimes, those topics are going to be directly tied to cannabis, but other times, the segments will stand on their own. We strive to find the golden balance between content that educates and entertains, while creating a polished and elevated experience for our readers.
How would you describe cannabis culture in the LGBTQ+ community?
Where is it? We know it exists, but it must still be "in the closet". Coming out to friends and family about being gay has its uncomfortable moments - and so does coming out about being a cannabis consumer. That’s why we believe the most important de-stigmatizing action is to talk about it and let people know that a modern, fun, safe and honest cannabis culture - and LGBTQ+ community - do exist!
What is your personal relationship with the plant?
Justin: I’ve been using cannabis for the last five years recreationally. Having some family that recently started growing, my perspective has completely changed. I began to see that cannabis isn't just for people who want to get high; it's for all kinds of people, and used in so many different applications. So, I spent the last few years trying to find a good balance in my life with cannabis. At this point, I’ve been able to identify strains that work really well in helping me relax and unleash my creativity.
Taylor: I began smoking in college and had been exposed to it a little in high school. I found that I really enjoyed smoking and it was a nightly experience for me (and still is). I believe my experience with the plant enriches my life in so many ways. It inspires me to be more physically active, intellectually curious, and slow down for the present moment. I've had few negative experiences and know it's not for everyone, but people should have the opportunity to have a relationship with cannabis if they choose to. That wish also parallels for the LGBTQ+ community. We should all be free to have relationships with the people and things that enrich our lives!
What impact do you want to make in the cannabis space?
Our aim is to build an environment where all cannabis consumers feel comfortable and accepted for their use. We know it has huge potential and we’d like to help educate and entertain LGBTQ+ friends, allies, supporters, and anyone else who likes what they see in our magazine.
How exactly can we de-stigmatize cannabis consumption?
Our approach to de-stigmatizing cannabis is to focus on the lifestyle of consumers. Our goal is to pair cannabis with topics that are familiar to people, so they feel welcome and understand how cannabis can translate into many different areas. We work towards that by expanding on these lifestyle topics, publishing people’s personal stories, and showcasing innovation. Sharing our stories about the plant can be vulnerable and uncomfortable, but doing so is a step forward in ending stigma.
What's next for Bowl & Plant?
Issue 2 is already in the works! Along with creating the best magazine we can, we're excited to begin working with some artists and other collaborators to develop great merchandise and new products!
Photos courtesy of Bowl & Plant.